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Last Chance Foods: Carrots

Friday, January 01, 2010

At Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Tarrytown, next week is the last week for harvesting carrots, just when their taste is at its peak.

 

Jack Algiere is the farm manager at Stone Barns, and he spoke with WNYC's Amy Eddings about how the farm's approach to harvesting carrots competes with the large industrial carrot farms in California. "We're completely selecting our varieties for flavor and for color and for particular texture," Algiere said. "All these things that in an industrial model just don't fit."

Algiere's crop is decidedly francophile: nantes have a rounded shoulder and are the same width all the way to the tip. The chantenay is a broad-shouldered carrot that tapers to a point. Algiere's favorite is the mocum, which, he says, is "sweet and bright." Algiere's hybrids are related to Queens Anne's Lace, a weed that can be plucked from alongside highways. These hybrids are a cultivated version of the same species.

Algiere crowed about the batch of carrots being harvested right now. In the winter, carrots taste sweeter because when they freeze they accumulate sugar. "So the winter carrot will always be superior," Algiere says.

Carrot Shooters
Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Dan Barber, executive chef and co-owner

  • 1 sheet gelatin or 1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 2 cups organic carrot juice (we recommend freshly juiced if possible)
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 9 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Fill a medium bowl with cold water. Submerge the gelatin and let sit until soft, about 5 minutes. If using powdered gelatin, combine the gelatin and 1 tablespoon of the carrot juice in a small bowl and let sit until thickened, about 5 minutes.
2. Place 1/3 cup of the carrot juice ( 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon if using powdered gelatin) in a small saucepan. Add the softened gelatin sheet (or powdered gelatin solution) and bring to a simmer. Off the heat, add the remaining carrot juice and the jalapeño, mint, vinegar, almond oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Serve in shot glasses, chilled, with or without ice.

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About Last Chance Foods

Last Chance Foods covers produce that’s about to go out of season, gives you a heads up on what’s still available at the farmers market and tells you how to keep it fresh through the winter.

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